Windows Phone: one week with professional ski and snowboard instructors

Event Facts:
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0+ teams lead by National level instructors with Windows Phones
200 ski and snowboard instructors
30+ Nokia Lumia Windows Phones uploading real-time stats and photos
Nokia and Microsoft employees helping on-site and skiing
1,000,000 vertical ft tracked by Winter Ski & Ride app
Technology used: Windows Phone, Windows Azure, SkyDrive and Windows 8
Altitude: 8,000 – 11,000 ft
= TOTAL SUCCESS

Tons of photos here

… even more photos and videos here

Windows Phone taken to the extreme

What’s the best proof of technology? Taking it to the extreme! Last week more than 200 attendees of the National Academy of Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) have been skiing, riding, taking pictures, videos and played with the apps, like the Winter app, at 10,000 ft elevations in the mountains of Utah. Microsoft and Nokia helped in this event, providing phones, skiing with the teams and of course showcasing the app for Windows Phone. Result? Thousands of pictures, videos, lots of smiling faces and memories that last.

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In the mountains of Utah…

All National team leads were given latest Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 Windows Phones, and they took them to the places, chutes, cornices, bowls and steep bumpy rides we could never think of. Together teams skied almost 1,000,000 ft vertical, tracked by Winter Ski & Ride app. The amount of April snowfall in Utah made every day the best day of skiing ever: with 5-8” of fresh snow falling almost every day, we also enjoyed days of sun and light, champagne powder.

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National level ski and snowboard event

The National Academy is an annual event gathering professional ski and snowboard instructors of America (PSIA-AASI), an organization of more than 32,000 ski and snowboard instructors training students in every region of the US. During the Academy instructors learn from the top national instructors.

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Microsoft and Nokia showing new technologies

Microsoft and Nokia representatives were very busy at the event, answering questions about Windows Phone, showcasing the app, making new friends and skiing! Some Microsoft employees skied for the first time, but after the event were ready to hit the slopes again! Presentation1

Photo: Matt Rothschild, Nokia’s head in North America demonstrating Nokia devices. Nokia and Microsoft showcasing devices, skiing and answering questions

What we learned

We’ve heard many great comments about Windows Phone, its video stabilization capabilities that make devices especially useful in the mountains, when taking instructional videos. Many mentioned superior device and camera capabilities that Windows Phone has, and also the software: such as Winter app that makes skiing with friends fun and also helps ski instructors teaching students. Together with PSIA-AASI, we also had a feedback and planning session from 30 national team leads, suggesting ideas for the next generation of Winter software and what a ski instructor may need in the mountains. This brainstorming will take the app to the next level. By the next season we are planning to significantly extend the app to include more exciting features.

SkyDrive + Windows Phone + Large Events = Awesomeness!

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Photo: Windows Phone SkyDrive settings

SkyDrive integration with Windows Phone provided seamless photo transfer from the mountain to the slideshows at night. Windows Phone 8 can seamlessly sync photos and videos with the SkyDrive, and with 30+ phones we managed that integration allowed us to instantly prepare slideshows at night, when the skiers came back from the mountain. To access this feature go to Photos –> SkyDrive Settings. We used PowerPoint to play the shows, but what we didn’t discover until the last night was the Windows 8 Photos app, which can also play the slide show!

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Photo: Windows 8 Photos app, notice Slide Show button at the bottom

Highlights

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Photo: PSIA Alpine Team member David Oliver, wearing Winter app snow-bandana.

Peter Kray, the author of “American Snow” book reached more than 100K vertical, skiing with the Winter app and had a goal of beating top skiers on the leaderboard. Pete’s book is beautifully printed, with pictures from both the old and modern days of ski instruction in America. Passionate skier himself, Pete says in his book: “To teach someone how to ski or snowboard is like sharing superpowers – giving the gift of motion, freedom, and flight – it’s the sensation of flying, with the world spinning beneath your feet and wind whipping across your face”.

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Custom made Winter skis made by Wagner Custom Skis to theme with the Winter app have proven to be a huge success: I skied them every day of the event, at various conditions: on groomers, steep, bumpy terrain and loved the way they feel. Winter app now includes a form where you can order skis made by Wagner with either Winter or any custom graphics. Skis are created personally for you to fit your skiing needs: Wagner makes any types of skis: from racing to big mountain skis. Born in the mountains of Colorado, in Telluride, these skis provided me with the best moments of my National Academy – at the end of the feedback session the skis were signed by national team leads – this will keep me motivated on working on the app in the summer. I hope to meet Pete Wagner personally to thank him for the joy of skiing his skis.

More about the event:

PSIA-AASI Selected as exclusive content provider for Winter Ski & Ride app

PSIA-AASI National Academy Day 2: Deep Returns, Hot App + Ages and Stages

Winter app

Photos taken by Nokia Lumia Windows Phone

Thanks!

Many thanks to Mark Dorsey, William McSherry, Earl Saline, Matt Rothschild, Thierry Doyen, Olga Vigdorovich, Matt Thompson, Warren Wilbee, Nisha Baxi, Kenny Spade, Randy Guthrie, Ain Indermitte, Razvan Furca, Ben Adams, Max Felix, Mike Hafer, Nick Herrin, Lane Cleua, David Oliver, Rob Sogard, Michael Rogan, Robin Barnes, Bob Barnes, Scott Anfang, Matt Boyd, Jennifer Simpson, Jeb Boyd, Dave Lyon, Ryan Christofferson, Jonathan Ballou, Jim Schanzenbaker, Heidi Effenger, Chris Fellows, Eric Lipton, Andy Docken, Dave Lundberg, Kelly Coffey, Pete Kray, Susan Urbanczyk and many others who helped organizing this event.

The best ski and snowboard app on the planet… exclusive to Windows Phone

 

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Windows Phone now has the best app in ski industry, leaving Apple and Google far behind, and raising the bar for ski apps very high: the app is called WINTER SKI & RIDE. For now the app is exclusively available on Nokia Windows Phones. WINTER SKI & RIDE is the official app of Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI), the association of more than 30,000 US ski and snowboard instructors. You can download it today from NOKIA Collection, if you are lucky to have a Windows Phone 8.

UPDATE:

Microsoft.com News about WINTER

Microsoft Windows Phone blog about WINTER

WPCentral about WINTER

Stay warm! Skiers no longer need to take hands off their gloves in the cold, WINTER SKI AND RIDE is especially optimized for use with gloves in the cold, and NOKIA Lumia devices have glove sensitive screen, so you don’t need to take off your gloves in the cold to use the app. The app is optimized to run through your skiing day without draining your battery, and instead of punching buttons in the cold you can simply speak to it: “WINTER, Show me snow reports” for example.

WINTER SKI & RIDE is a unique app in many ways, it is developed by a Microsoftie, a professional ski instructor and a startup in Silicon Valley, an extremely powerful combination. The app is built in the US and Canada, and tested through snowstorms in the mountains of Colorado, Utah, California and British Columbia. Apparently, instead of spending time at Starbucks in Cupertino, Microsoft reached out to the field, and has developers who can ski and ride in the mountains, in cold and snow, to make the best app for skiing.

Instead of a bunch of different apps for weather, ski tracking and lessons, WINTER SKI & RIDE combines all features a skier needs in the mountain in one powerful app: snow reports, resort maps and information, such as the number of open trails, beautiful ski analytics and activity tracking, and lessons for skiing, telemark, snowboarding, freestyle and cross-country from professional ski and snowboard instructors.

SKI AND SNOWBOARD ACTIVITY ANALYTICS

Apparently, it takes a ski instructor and a Microsoftie to get a ski app right, finally! WINTER SKI & RIDE has an activity tracking switch, just turn it on when you are at ski resort, and you can put the phone back in your pocket. The smart app will automatically track your runs and present them in beautiful charts: you can see you runs by season, daily or even drill into the run details to see run details, such as speed, duration and vertical drop.

Not only that, WINTER SKI & RIDE motivates you to ski or ride more, and improve endurance, by setting goals. You can currently set vertical and run goals, and if you reach a goal, ta-da: your run is marked with an achievement pin, and you move closer to the leaders of the mountain.

LEADERBOARD OF BEST SKIERS AND RIDERS

WINTER SKI & RIDE is a very social app that lets you ski with your buddies and see the best skiers on the mountain.  You can also invite your friends and once you become friends with someone, you can share the runs and excitement about skiing.

SNOW REPORTS AND MAPS

WINTER SKI & RIDE automatically updates snow reports and you can view reports by proximity, by best conditions, powder, and maximum snow base. You can pin your favorite resorts as tiles to the start screen. The app beautifully presents resort information, shows vertical, open lifts and other information..

LESSONS: SKI, SNOWBOARD, TELEMARK, OH-MY…

Because WINTER SKI & RIDE is endorsed by Professional Ski Instructors of America, it has professional lessons from the best ski instructors on the planet. Lessons are carefully selected, adhering to the highest standards of the sport, lucky Windows Phone owners can now ski and learn.

SOCIAL

WINTER SKI & RIDE connects you with a social network of skiers and riders, making millions of ski buddies interconnected. This technology is based on Microsoft Windows Azure powerful cloud service. Do you want to see what runs your buddy did in Vail, or Whistler, or Chamonix? Just look him up on the Winter!

FOR SKI TEAMS AND COACHES

WINTER SKI & RIDE app changes the way coaches and ski instructors communicate with their students. By using the NFC technology available in Windows Phone, a ski instructor can instantly have a group of students join a team, and make recommendations based on a ski day, and individual runs.

WITH WINTER SKI & RIDE APP WINDOWS PHONE BECOMES TOP PLAYER IN WINTER SPORTS

With WINTER SKI & RIDE, Microsoft Windows Phone becomes a top player in the Winter sports. Forget the aging iPhone or battery-hungry Android. With the app endorsed by Professional Ski Instructors or America, Windows Phone becomes a very powerful player in the snowsports industry.

 

DOWNLOAD WINTER